Mads Ostberg was another to survive and after a puncture on SS3, which left him down in 17th, he kept plugging away and at the end achieved his pre-event target of finishing in the top five: “I am so happy to be here at the end,” said the Norwegian. “We have been quite clever and not done anything stupid. The slow puncture on the first leg destroyed the result but we have finished with something better than we could have hoped for on Friday.”
Henning Solberg was equally relieved to get to the end and he was sixth in the other M-Sport Stobart Ford car nominated to score manufacturers' points: “This is great,” he reflected. “Before the last stage I had to change the power steering belt. I never had such a hard rally - six stages without power steering [on Saturday]. My fingers are not very nice. It hurt!”
Further back, Nasser Al-Attiyah took seventh place and the SWRC class win, having led the category from start-to-finish. He eventually finished 13.5 seconds up on Martin Prokop, with Juho Hanninen third: “This is fantastic,” said Al-Attiyah. “It was a very hard week. We have competed here many times, but it is a good start for us [to win the first round of the SWRC]. We won the Dakar and then the Qatar Rally and the rally in Saudi. I hope to keep it going now. It has been a fantastic year for us so far.”
Federico Villagra rounded out the top ten, taking advantage of the SupeRally to claim the final drivers' point after he went out in SS2 on Friday. Ken Block had been set to take tenth following an extremely trying event, but more drama in the penultimate stage dropped the American down to 13th overall.
“It was the same electrical trouble,” Block revealed. “We were parked there for a while and I thought, 'what the heck, let's try and start it up again' and it started! We then got to the re-group, had 30 seconds before the start of the Power Stage. It was a lot of fun.”
In terms of retirements, as mentioned previously, Ogier was the biggest scalp, crashing out of the lead in SS20 and leaving some to question whether or not Citroen were right to let their two men slug it out. Dennis Kuipers also crashed out, albeit at the start of day two, while mechanical issues stopped Britain's Matt Wilson – who had been up in fourth - and WRC returnee, Evgeny Novikov. In total of the 25 starters, 18 were classified at the finish.
The 2011 FIA WRC now heads to Portugal in three weeks time, with round three running from March 24-27.
To see the result following today's WRC Rally Mexico - CLICK HERE.
To view the latest championship standings - CLICK HERE.